You would have to be living under a rock to not have noticed the amount of bad news stories regarding teenagers and young people.
You would have to be living under a rock to not have noticed the amount of bad news stories regarding teenagers and young people. As parents, this is shocking and somewhat worrying as today’s parents need to battle the line between freedom and safety. We know that you cannot wrap kids up in cotton wool never mind teenagers and we don’t want them to live in fear either. However, there are so many things that can put teenagers at risk including the internet, drugs, alcohol and potential abusive situations.
Depending on where you live your worries may be bigger than those of parents who live in quieter villages or towns but nonetheless violence and personal safety risks exist within many communities. Teenagers usually travel to school by foot and again this is another worry as we wonder how safe they are travelling alone or are they better in larger numbers? Should teenagers be undertaking self-defence lessons in school, to provide them with the methods to break free from a random attack? But what about the attacks that can’t be foretold, the ones that occur by people your teenager knows. It doesn’t bear thinking about, but the truth is these things are happening and more than we would like nowadays.
Some of the biggest threats to teenagers’ safety are:
- Abuse – physical, mental or emotional.
- Internet safety
- Mental health problems.
There are a few things you can do to teach your teenagers to be mindful of their personal safety and things you can do as their parent.
- Remind your teenagers to tell you where they will be and when they are going down town or to other places. You need to know where they are. Make sure they know to check in and out regularly.
- Tell them to be careful of strangers and keep in control of situations as people can change at any time.
- Have a plan in place and let your teenager know they should avoid dangerous situations or potentially dangerous situations.
- Pay attention to your teenagers’ behaviour or changes in behaviour.
- Advise your teenager to walk with friends and if walking late at night to wear reflective clothing.
- If they are wearing headphones remind your teenager to keep the volume down so that you can hear what is happening around you and pay attention to vehicles in their vicinity.
- Tell them to carry their mobile phone and make/answer calls so that they can get help if they need it. Make sure your teenager has credit or a bill phone.
- Your teenager should have their house key ready in their hand before they need it, so they don’t have to search for it upon arrival home. This is especially important if you live in a secluded area.
- Give your teenager emergency money – just in case.
- Make sure your teenager and their friends know how to look after one another. Walk in groups and avoid being left alone anywhere. Have a rule that your teen and their pals should stay together.
- Talk with other parents and get a car pool in place for discos, events and occasions your teenager may attend. That way you can all be aware.
- Tell your teen to avoid places where there could be danger – dark roads, alleys or places that are dodgy.
Teenagers will always be at risk but there are ways to alleviate the risk. Teenagers and young people deserve to feel safe
and with some of the tips above they should feel in more control.
Written by Emma Hayes, Staff Writer, with Family Friendly HQ.